Education

To raise money for library books, this principal had to kiss a frog

As part of a Harmony-Emge School District 175 fundraiser, Dave Deets, principal at Ellis Elementary and Harmony Intermediate, kissed the fire belly toad during a morning assembly for Harmony Intermediate on Dec. 9. Librarian Jessica Yates held the frog in a gloved hand. The frog is the library’s new pet. The fundraiser will help the library purchase books.
As part of a Harmony-Emge School District 175 fundraiser, Dave Deets, principal at Ellis Elementary and Harmony Intermediate, kissed the fire belly toad during a morning assembly for Harmony Intermediate on Dec. 9. Librarian Jessica Yates held the frog in a gloved hand. The frog is the library’s new pet. The fundraiser will help the library purchase books.

It was a fundraising competition that no one likely wanted to lose — because the price was to kiss a frog.

At the Harmony Intermediate Center in Belleville, people placed coins into jars to vote for which staff member would have to kiss the library’s new pet: a fire belly toad.

That staff member was Dave Deets, principal at Ellis Elementary and Harmony Intermediate.

“Although I was the loser of the challenge, it was a win for our library because all of the change and money collected helps buy books for the library,” Deets said.

It was librarian Jessica Yates’ fundraiser, called the “Change War Challenge.” She said it brought in $148.24 for the library.

To the students’ delight, Deets kissed the frog during a morning assembly for Harmony Intermediate on Dec. 9. Yates held the frog in a gloved hand. “Not sure who was more mortified about this, though, the frog or Mrs. Yates,” Deets wrote in a post to social media later that morning.

Students will vote on a name for the frog; The options, which were submitted by students, are Freddy, Mike, Fireball, Jack, Spot, Billy, Kermit and Dog.

High school students build competition-winning app

Seth Davey and Ian McAtee are students at Edwardsville High School. They’re also the creators of an original phone app that teaches users about the components of a computer.

The pair are among the 123 winners of the Congressional App Challenge from across the nation. Seth’s and Ian’s app — called the “Interactive Computer Diagram” — opens to show the inside of a computer. Users can click on the hardware, like the power supply unit or the optical disk drive, to get a description of what it does.

More than 2,100 high school students submitted 650 apps to the competition.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., visited Seth and Ian at the high school to congratulate them.

Teacher asks for donations to help her students

East St. Louis High School teacher Suzanne Gibson is collecting items for her “Christmas closet.”

She’s asking for body wash, deodorant, tooth brushes, tooth paste and body wipes, which will benefit the children she teaches all year long, as well as winter coats and blankets that they need during the cold winter months.

Students will have the opportunity to “shop” for what they need from the closet.

Donations can be sent by mail to 4901 State St., East St Louis, Illinois 62205 (Attention: Suzanne Gibson).

Students give Christmas gifts to St. John Bosco Center

During Althoff Catholic High School soccer games, the people in the stands passed a bucket for donations every time the team scored a goal. And it raised more than $400 for the St. John Bosco Center.

The effort was soccer captain Stephen Waltrip’s idea, according to Kathy Schaefer.

Schaefer is the Belleville Achieves Strength in Character group’s youth board moderator for Althoff. She said students also purchased and wrapped gifts for the children who live at the center based on their Christmas lists.

Local school welcomes a special visitor: St. Nick

St. Nicholas recently walked the halls of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School to remind students that he was a real bishop who helped the needy.

The saint’s life is the origin of Santa Claus. During St. Nick’s visit to the Waterloo school, he stopped in each classroom to talk with students about his life on his feast day, Dec. 6.

Illinois politician walks in a principal’s shoes

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, recently traveled to Pinckneyville to serve as a school principal for a day.

He visited Pinckneyville High School to talk with teachers and students and work as a lunch monitor. Costello said the experience allowed him to learn firsthand how schools are educating children.

“Learning about new developments in the classrooms ensures that the decisions I make as a legislator support our teachers and administrators as they ensure student excellence,” Costello stated in a news release.

Area educator’s teaching is excellent, group says

Educator Jaye Smith received an Emerson Excellence in Teaching award last month.

She teaches eighth grade English language arts at Grant Middle School in Fairview Heights.

Smith is among 100 teachers who were honored with a ceremony and an engraved crystal apple box made by premier jeweler Tiffany & Co. The awards are given to educators in the St. Louis area each year.

Metro-east school wins $5,000 grand prize

Students and staff at Leclaire Elementary School have $5,000 to spend.

They might use it for playground equipment or technology for their school. But another idea is to put it into their Leclaire Loves fund, which is used to help families experiencing tragedies like house fires and deaths, according to Principal Cornelia Smith.

“We want the money to benefit as many people and programs as possible,” Smith said.

The Edwardsville school won the money in a recent contest. Students from across the metro-east submitted 26 videos that displayed their school spirit to the “Get to know m.e. campaign,” and community members voted online for their favorites.

Leclaire Elementary School’s video showed students and staff dancing to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” It received 3,424 votes.

Smith described the experience as “more than than we could have imagined.”

“... It provided a great opportunity for our school family to work together on an amazing project,” Smith said.

The $5,000 check was delivered to the school by Fred Bird, the St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot, on Friday.

Watch the winning video online at get2knowthemetroeast.com.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes

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